Judith Lautner (judith) wrote,
Judith Lautner


Christopher Nolan, with help from his adept screenwriter and fine actors, does for lack of sleep with Insomnia what he did for lack of memory with Memento. He takes a close look at LA detective Will Dormer (Al Pacino), whose obsessive pursuit of justice led him to cross a line. To cool the subsequent pursuit of Internal Affairs detectives, his superiors send Dormer and his partner Hap (Martin Donovan) to a remote Alaskan town, to assist local police with the investigation of a murder.

Dormer is already losing sleep over his actions on the plane, and when young detective Ellie Burr (Hillary Swank) meets him enthusiastically and tells him he is her idol, he is less than comfortable with the role of mentor.

Dormer's pushy investigative style is only exaggerated as he continues to be plagued by insomnia, and he gradually slips from his pedestal in Ellie's eyes. Ultimately faced with a truly calculating killer, Dormer has to redefine good and evil.

The dark look of the film, also reminiscent of Memento, reflects the murkiness of the theme and perhaps the true darkness of Dormer's soul. It isn't an easy film to watch, not least because of the incredible power of Pacino's performance. But to call it a "performance" undermines its real effect, his ability to become that person. I wonder if he was able to leave it at the office.

Pacino was well-supported by the rest of the cast, and especially by Swank, one of a new crop of young, beautiful, intelligent good actors.

I suspect this film will fade from notice because of disappointing box-office receipts, because it is not lightweight entertainment. Unfortunate but not uncommon.

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